My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I am bereft. The journey is over and I am alone with myself once again. I can hear echoes of voices in my head, but the sound is dwindling. I suppose I feel somewhat like Wayland watching Vallon, Hero and Caitlin retreat into the west.
Putting aside a good book is always hard, particularly one detailing an epic adventure. After finishing Hawk Quest by Robert Lyndon, I actually felt directionless, hence the opening paragraph of my review.
Hawk Quest is, first and foremost, an adventure story. It begins with a knight and a quest. There is a hostage and a ransom, but the tale is not so straight forward. The hostage, Sir Walter, knows the location of a great treasure, something worth more than his own life, and the ransom is something that proves the demise of many: two casts of pure white falcons. Gyrfalcons. They are only available in the arctic and the uncompromising lands of the far north are only accessible in the summer. Oh, and there is a deadline on delivery. It will not be a profitable venture for anyone but the Turkish emir holding Walter hostage unless they make the delivery on time.
Vallon is a disgraced knight looking for penance. When he stumbles across Hero, whose former master is all but dead, he undertakes the quest even though it will lead him in the opposite direction. It will not be the first time they are misdirected. Along the way he and Hero collect allies and enemies and rarely do they move on without leaving their mark. They fight and escape from Normans, fight and ally with Vikings, treat with Russians and elude savages, battle with nomads and finally bargain with the emir. In between, they battle against nature. Their journey takes about twelve months and all of them emerge more than a year older and wiser.
The revelation at the end is surprising at first, but it works well with the underlying theme of the book—the power of mortal men who can be extraordinary when they believe in themselves and one another.